Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nick Laffey

How old are you, and for how long have you been juggling?

20, I'll be turning 21 September 13th. I've been juggling since senior year of high school. So I believe 3-4 years. I learned the cascade from my dad one Christmas when he got some juggling balls. I kind of started pursuing new tricks and such when I had troubles sleeping at night and needed something to do. The first "performance" I had ever done was for a band called Troubled Hubble. When I told them I juggled they asked me to do it on stage. I remember wanting to learn mills mess before the show. I ended up learning it the morning before.

At almost 21 years old, what are you doing with your life?

I'm not attending college presently but I do work full time as a Benefit representative. I answer phone calls regarding benefit and payroll questions for employees of several companies. It's a job... I just try to keep busy and do interesting stuff when I'm not working, still trying to figure out exactly what it is that I want to do with my life. Just having fun for the time being.

You mentioned learning new tricks, I know from my own experience the Internet played a huge role in my learning, to what extent did the Internet and the online community play in your juggling?

Yeah the Internet definitely played a huge role in learning new tricks. I spent a lot of time trying to interpret things off of the Juggle Master JavaScript when I first started. It also helped me a lot in understand siteswaps and such. There isn't much of a juggling scene here in Des Moines and I've surpassed all the old dudes so I kind of have to look for ideas via the Internet. Helps having a high speed Internet connection....

At what point did you know that juggling was what you wanted to do, and would make up a critical part of your life?

I don't really think there was any point where I just decided to go all out. It's been pretty gradual. Probably more so 2 years ago or so when I started to perform more and felt that I required myself to practice. I think it's definitely a large part of life now however and I can't really see myself giving up all together.

To date, what is the most unusual thing or set of things that you have juggled?

Baby arms? Here is a picture of me attempting an 8-baby arm flash at mondo 2006

What are the most unusual places you have ever juggled?

Off the top of my head... a Chinese buffet for some elderly folks... and also at a get together for dieing cancer child...

What has your juggling career entailed so far?

I don't really consider myself a great performer but I have performed quite a bit. Mostly events around my hometown Des Moines, IA like literacy festivals, children's ren fairs, Des Moines Arts festival, Neighborhood festivals, RAGBRAI , I've helped teach adult education classes teaching juggling. I have also done a full out tour for a program associated with D.A.R.E where I performed inside of a magicians act in front of 400+ crowds. I also juggle on stage for a few songs in my band.

Tell us a little about your band.

The band kind of started out of boredom and we just play to have fun pretty much. Our lyrics are about magic and fruit and other nonsense. Some have described us as Black Sabbath meets children's music... We don't have anything recorded yet so you'll just have to imagine. We actually got signed recently to and plan on recording soon. I retire from the drums on two songs during our set and juggle.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Probably the D.A.R.E tour, I got to travel for hours to perform in historic venues for good money and a good cause.

What are some of the venues you juggle in during the D.A.R.E tour?

You know I couldn't tell you the names of the places. I performed at a sports complex in Provo, UT which was huge. I think it was at some college. The next two were in these old theaters. I can't remember the towns, I was really sick during that whole thing and pretty much just rode passenger in the truck and drank Dayquil so it was kind of hazy. If anyone really wanted to know I could probably dig up the cities and research what the theatres were called.

Do you prefer juggling for large or small crowds more?

Hard to say. I kind of liked the larger crowds just because the audience tends to feed off of each other about when to clap and such. When one person claps everyone else does, same with laughter. If you get a small audience and everyone is too embarrassed to show any emotion it can be kind of awkward when jokes bomb.

How many of each type of props do you juggle?

7 balls, 5 clubs. Rings aren't my thing.

Do you actually perform 7 balls and 5 clubs in your performances or just in practice?

I'm definitely not solid in either of these. I do attempt a flash to a small run though. I try to stress the difficulty and build it up some.

Do you specialize in any auxiliary props or non juggling circus arts?

I do some ball spinning, I also unicycle pretty well. That's about it.

Other than juggling what other hobbies do you participate in?

I work 40 hours a week + juggling + the band. It keeps me pretty busy; I enjoy a good game of Foosball on a regular basis. I also try to maintain a girlfriend. I have had a lot of past hobbies that have come and gone however.

Generally speaking, do you wear socks while you juggle?

I always wear socks. I blame juggling for my abundance of skanky, sweaty socks. I practice a lot of kickups and I have to have shoes on. But why do you ask?

I think it was Brett Sheets that told me to add that question so I’ve kept it. Anything amusing or unique ever happen at one of these shows?

I think the most amusing thing was when me and another juggler I know where doing a show at a daycare. We were going to pass clubs around a kid and we asked for a volunteer. Whenever too many kids volunteered I demanded that the volunteer be able to dance. Everyone put there hands down except for this one boy, who just happened to have won a dance competition recently and had music nearby. They plugged his music in and he started grind/hump dancing to the music while we passed clubs around him. I almost passed out from laughing so hard.

Are you a clown?

Nope. I think the idea that all jugglers are clowns is bunk. Case in point. I am only awkward and unfunny onstage.

What makes up a standard juggling practice for you?

Nothing standard. I bounce from one number to the next without any kind of real plan. I think 3 and 4 club stuff usually dominates my time though. Juggling practice is relaxing / an escape from life so I just try to go with the flow and do what I want.

How long do you generally juggle for?

Give me good weather or a gym and I'll go for 3-4 hours.

What is it that will make you want to pick up your props tomorrow and
keep juggling?

I'll probably be stressed over something. Or just bored. And I have a desire to keep working on my 4 club flats and 5 club triples.

What goals are you currently working towards?

5 clubs solid , 7 balls solid. Just really a lot of tricks that I'd like to be able to do but can't. No real performing goals if that's what this was keyed for.

Which prop is your favorite to juggle? Any specific reasoning?

Clubs. They are just alot more visual and the spin, size and shape give you more to work with then balls.

Are there any specific jugglers that inspire you?

I've always looked up to Chris Larues style whenever I see him at conventions. Malte Steinmetz for creativity. Jay Gilligan for performance.

Do you have any "claims to fame" in the juggling community?

Not that I'm aware. Let me know if I do. I think I'm pretty low key in the juggling community.

Where do you see yourself in terms of juggling in a month, a year, 10

In a month I might be doing the D.A.R.E tour thing again if I can get the time off of work. I am 21 in a month though... so maybe drunk. I guess either or I'll be happy. A year probably same ol same ol , just with a few more tricks down. 10 years? Dead? I'm not sure.

Art or Sport?

Both. It's sad that this is still being discussed like there is one answer. Give it up.

Balls, Beanbags, or Russians?

Balls look better on stage but I do prefer my bags. I recently acquired some through the great generosity of the BagLady and they are meeting all expectations. As soon as I get them a little dirtier they will look/feel exactly like my fergies did. I would still like to try my hand at Russians too. Just to lazy to make them myself.

If there were one thing you would like the juggling community to know about you, what would it be?

I can't really think of anything that people should know about me.... I do sit at a computer 9 hours a day, 5 days a week with an Internet connection. AIM me at ihateaimdamnuben if you want to talk juggling.

1 comment:

Isaac said...

Sexiest. Juggler. Ever.